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Academic year: 2021



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Instead of controlling, suppressing, or constricting your freedom, time management enables you to achieve the things your really want and frees up time to enjoy life. Everyone is allotted the same amount of time in life—24 hours in each day. You can’t save or steal time. However, you can learn to invest it wisely. This module will help you learn how to get control of your life by managing your time wisely and by choosing to spend it on your main goals. For an explanation of any concept or tool in this module, contact your friendly academic counselor in the center for Academic Planning & Support Services office. Call 448-8660 to schedule an appointment.

Low scores on the Time Management section of the study skills inventory indicate a need to organize calendars realistically, learn to prioritize, deal with competing demands and deal with procrastination.

• Make, use and evaluate: a to-do list, weekly and monthly calendars, and study schedules.

• Try the ABC priority system to complete tasks and avoid procrastination.

• Reward yourself for sticking to your calendar.


1. Set prioritized goals and determine what has to be done to achieve those goals. Sometime, before you go to sleep, plan for tomorrow. Make out a to-do list, prioritize activities, and set a time goal for each.

2. Remember that only 20% of the activities on your to-do list will yield you 80% of the results. Concentrate on completing those activities before any others.

3. Establish goal statements to motivate you and keep you on track. The clearer your goals, the greater the motivation to accomplish them.

4. Decide what activities you must accomplish and what obstacles you must overcome to reach your goals. Include these on your to-do list. Do the most important and pressing things first.

5. Review your goal statements at least once a month, and revise if necessary.

6. Break projects down into steps that can be accomplished in no more than 2 hours each. Enter these steps on your to-do lists.

7. Keep a positive mental attitude by writing down at least 3 good things that happen to you each day. Relive these by reviewing them constantly.


9. Get rid of your television set.

10. Use driving time more productively—listen to motivational or educational tapes, use a tape recorder to record ideas that come to mind, mentally think through your plan for the day, etc.

11. Put up signs, at home and at work, to remind you of your goals. 12. Learn to say “NO” to others (and to yourself when temptations arise).

13. Plan your conversations by writing down notes on what you want to say. Be an active listener, and record what others say to you. Keep your records.

14. Don’t over plan your day with appointments and to-do list activities. You know that interruptions will come up so be prepared to reprioritize your activities accordingly. Build in contingency time; maybe an hour, to deal with unplanned demands that come up.


1. Build your schedule around your fixed time commitments.

2. Plan sufficient study time to do justice to each subject. 3. Study at a regular time and in a regular place.

4. Study as soon after class as possible. 5. Utilize odd hours for studying.

6. Study no more than two hours on any one course at one time. 7. Borrow time—don’t steal it.


1. Analyze Your Present Use of Time………...p. 3

2. Set Up An Events Calendar……...p. 7 3. Make a Master Chart of Fixed Commitments……….. p. 10 4. Determine the Week’s Work……….……..p. 13 5. Create a Weekly Schedule………...p. 14 6. Make a Daily Checklist………p. 16



Whether we are trying to better manage our weight, our money, or our time, life management experts say that our first step should be to monitor, as closely as possible, how much is coming in relative to how much is going out. For example, if you aspire to healthy weight management, you would monitor closely how many calories you expend relative to how many calories you consume. If you wanted to get better control over your money, you would keep all of your receipts for a month in order to better track where the money goes, relative to the amount of money coming in.

The time monitor below consists of two columns—one column to list your planned activities and the second column to monitor actual activities and events. On the time monitor below, begin by listing your “planned” activities for the days ahead (for an entire week, if possible) and continue to update this monitor on a daily basis as new events and activities occur in your life. After a period of time--two weeks is ideal--determine how much time has been spent on each of the various activities, using the Time Tally Chart below. To do the full two weeks of monitoring you may have to photocopy or print out extra copies of these pages.

Keep the monitor with you at all times during the two weeks. Crumple it, fold it, and mash it. Let it be your closest friend. During those odd moments of the day, in the minutes before class starts or after you’ve finished lunch, take it out and enter the “actual” activities of the last few hours. Try to do a time audit at least once during the morning, afternoon, and evening. Be as accurate as you can. Use ½ hour blocks where applicable.

In reviewing your two weeks of time monitoring, note how often “actual” events may have impinged on “planned” ones. Were these interruptions avoidable or were they necessary? Note the times when you were most productive. When or where were you most “on target” with no distractions or diversions. Using a Time Monitor procedure such as this one can help you target your time wasters as well as the zone of optimal performance.


Time Monitor

Monday ___/___/___ Tuesday ___/___/___ Wednesday___/___/___ Thursday ___/___/___ Planned Actual Planned Actual Planned Actual Planned Actual

7:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 7:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 After 11


Time Monitor

Friday ___/___/___ Saturday ___/___/___ Sunday ___/___/___

Planned Actual Planned Actual Planned Actual

7:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 7:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 After 11


Time Tally Chart

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Totals 1. Hours of study

2. Hours in class 3. Hours of sleep 4. Hours of paid work 5. Hours of volunteer work

6. Hours of work at home (housework, chores, etc.)

7. Hours of personal grooming (brushing teeth, showering, curling hair) 8. Hours of eating (mealtime)

9. Hours of athletic practice & game time 10. Hours traveling to work or school 11. Hours watching television 12. Hours of planned exercise

13. Hours of recreation & leisure time (movies, parties, playing cards, bull sessions in the dorm, staring at the ceiling, etc.)

14. Other:

College is not like high school where your time is scheduled for you to a large extent. There is no one looking over your shoulder to tell you when to begin assignments, when to eat, sleep and exercise. As a result, many students waste a great deal of time. Some of the common time wasters are:

• Lack of a fixed time and place to study

• Procrastination

• Lack of clear priorities

• Unclear goals

• Failure to plan

• Lack of self discipline

• Crisis management

• Excessive socializing

• Constant interruptions

The successful student is the one who consciously and carefully organizes his or her time to deal with these time wasters.



On your monthly calendar indicate fixed commitments, test dates, quiz dates, due dates for assignments and projects, social events, and the like. Do a “syllabus dump” for each of your courses and enter the pertinent dates from each course onto the calendar. Color code the deadlines for each class, to add a little zip to your calendar. Post this calendar near your study area. The calendar should give you a sense of the peaks and valleys throughout the semester and ensure that nothing ever just “sneaks up on you.”



Month ____________


Portion of an Events Calendar for Pat Jones

Month: October


Sept. 25 Classes Start 26 27 28 29 30 Oct. 1 2 3 4 5 6 English Paper # 1 7 8


9 10 11 12 13 English Paper # 2 Math Quiz 14 Outline of term Paper by Nov. 15 16 17 18 19 20 English Paper # 3 21 22 23 Math Exam 24 25

History Mid Term

26 27 English Paper # 4 28

First draft of term Paper by Nov. 29 30 Accounting Exam 31 Nov. 1 2 3 4


Dec. 10 11 Finals Begin Accounting 1:00 – 3:00 12 13 English Exam 8:00 – 10:30 History Exam 10:45 – 12:00 14 15 TERM PAPER DUE 16 Math Exam 8:00 – 10:30


Any student who deliberately undertakes the task to schedule his time is not one who has decided to spend all his time studying and doing nothing else. He is usually a person who has decided to use efficiently the time he has to spend studying, and to “desensitize” himself to the many distractions that are constantly occurring.

What does this “desensitizing” involve? It means removing oneself from constant day-to-day, hour-to-hour decisions as to whether one will or will not go to a show on an impulse, and whether or not to use that hour between classes to get next week’s assignment out of the way.

A workable time schedule can make such decisions for you, thus desensitizing you to momentary distractions. And, an hour well begun with study on one course is not disturbed by wondering when you will study for another course, or when you will be able to get out and have some fun. An adequate schedule includes those for you. In fact, students who do not schedule are doing it backwards: their minds are on school when they should be relaxing (“I should really study for that chemistry test instead of watching General Hospital”) and on relaxing when they should be thinking about school (“I can’t stand this history book. I wish I could quit and go partying.”)

EXERCISE: Using the blank Weekly Schedule on the following page fill in the fixed commitments for your standard week: e.g. class times, eating times, sleep times, weekly club meetings, etc. See the “Pat Jones” sample that follows. Use a pencil—even fixed events can change—to create your Master Chart, and then make photo-copies of this Master, in order to create your weekly schedule.




6-7 7-8 8-9 9-10 10-11 11-12 12-1 1-2 2-3 3-4 4-5 5-6 6-7 7-8 8-9 9-10 10-11 11-12


Sample: Master Chart of Fixed Commitments for Pat Jones


6-7 Sleep

7-8 Sleep

Eat &

Get Ready Sleep

8-9 Eat Eat 9-10 History Class History Class History Class Job 10-11 Math Class Math Class Math Class Math Class 11-12 English Class English Class English Class 12-1 Eat Accounting Class Eat Accounting

Class Eat Eat

Eat 1-2 Eat Eat 2-3 Job Job 3-4 4-5 5-6 Eat 6-7 7-8 8-9 Club Meeting 9-10 10-11 Sleep



Instructions: (1) List your work for the week, as in the Pat Jones sample below; (2) Apply these listed items to your weekly schedule (a photo-copy of your Master Chart of Fixed Commitments); (3) Use this Weekly Work list to monitor your outcomes (what grade did you get?), your time (planned or estimated vs. actual), and your focus. Name: _____

Pat Jones


SAMPLE WEEKLY WORK LIST Date: _Oct. 8__ to __Oct. 14 Course Assignments, Projects, Exams &

Exam Preparations Grade Goal Due Estimated Time Actual Time

Focus* Outcome Reward Comments

Hist. Text PP. 88 - 95 Mon 1 Hr. 45 Min. 9.5 Math before and after history.


Hist. Text PP. 98-115 Wed 2 Hrs.

Hist. Text PP 116 - 140 Fri 2 Hrs.


Acct. Problem – Set # 3 Mon 1 Hr. 10+ A.M. Study Rules!!

Acct. Text PP 35-45 Wed 1 ½ Hrs.

Acct Problem – Set # 4 Fri 3 Hrs.

Math Exercise # 3 Mon. 2 Hrs. 3 Hrs. 5 * Watch 3rd Rock @ 10:30

Math Exercise # 4 Wed. 2 Hrs. Comment: Avoid ph. calls

Math Review for Quiz Fri 3 Hrs. To Mary

Eng. Short Paper Fri 3 Hrs.

Eng Term Paper Outline Fri 5 Hrs.

*Focus: On a scale of 1 – 10, assess your level of focus & concentration on the task, where “10” would be a laser-like focus, and “1” would the highest level of distractibility.



Instructions: Apply the list of work items from Step Four (your weekly work list) & the estimated time needed to complete the tasks from Step Four to the Fixed Commitment Schedule you created in Step Three. This will be your weekly schedule, which should look something like this. Color code your entries, if desired.

Weekly Schedule for Pat Jones


6-7 Sleep

7-8 Sleep

Eat &

Get Ready Sleep

8-9 Eat


#3 Reading Hist. Math #4 Acctg. #4 Eat


History Class


Review History Class

History Class Job 10-11 Math Class Math Class Engl. Paper Math Class Math Class 11-12 English Class Math #4 English Class Math

Review English Class

12-1 Eat


Class Eat


Class Eat Eat


1-2 Eat


Paper Eat


Review Paper Term


Job Job Hist.

Reading 3-4 Math Review 4-5 5-6 Eat 6-7 Math

Ex. 3 Accounting Reading Accounting #4

7-8 Hist. Reading Math #4 Hist. Reading Engl. Reading 8-9 Math

Ex. 3 Reading Hist. Meeting Club


Paper Engl. Paper


Math #4



Instructions: Sometimes a daily checklist scratched out on a file card, a spare sheet of paper, or in a daily planner can be a very effective focusing device. Scratch off items as you complete them & enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from “working the list.”

Daily Checklist for Pat Jones










Math Review - 3 hrs.

Hist. Rdg. - 1 hr.

Eng. Rdg. - 1 hr.

Eng. Paper - 1 hr.


Pay bills









Fill in the blank:

I now have about ______ hours during the week when I do not already have something filled in. I am now currently in classes which meet______hours a week. If I multiply that number by two, the result is______hours which I should probably use as a rule-of-thumb for the number of hours I should study each week.

Check the answer which best fits your schedule:

1. ______I have enough hours left in my schedule so that I can fit in the number of hours I should spend studying.

2. ______I have a schedule which is too busy. I need to make some adjustments as I plan my study schedule for this semester.

If you checked number two, what is the difference between the number of hours you should probably spend studying, according to the two-to-one hour rule, and the number of hours you currently have available for study? ______

Think about your schedule. Look at it. Where can you find these hours? What has to be removed from your current weekly schedule? Are you sleeping too much? Are you working too many hours at your job? Do you watch too much TV? Are you spending too much time talking to friends or partying? What can you change to find the hours you need?

List two things you could do to change your schedule and get more time for your first priority-study:

1.________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ 2.________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________




Watching television or pleasure reading: Be aware of turning on the TV. Only watch for a specified amount of time.

Daydreaming (Lack of concentration): Eliminate distractions (visual and auditory). Set a goal and carry out your activities. Do not give into it.

Over preparation for a task: Recognize that you are avoiding the task. Organize your preparation so that you have everything you need in a short amount of time within your reach.

Eating: Nibbling disrupts concentration. Eat only if you are

hungry. If necessary, reward yourself after studying. Telephone interruptions and drop-in visitor: The problem is the inability to say, “No”. Tell your

friends you are studying and will return the call or visit when you are through. Stick to your original agreement with yourself and develop self-discipline.

Procrastination; indecision: Develop realistic goals and expectations of yourself. Make a daily list of “to-do” priorities. Overcome the fear of making a mistake by learning from your mistakes.

Worrying about what needs to be done: This is a way of avoiding something you should be doing when you know you should be doing it. When you begin to worry, set aside 2 minutes to worry as hard as you can. Then return to the task at hand.

Involvement in too many activities: Set priorities. Concentrate on one thing at a time. Choose those activities that are most important to you and fit them into your written study and work schedule.

Sleeping: Do not try to study lying down.

Lack of objectives, priorities, daily plan: Establish goals, rank priorities, make a schedule. Personal disorganization: Keep an uncluttered desk and organize your school and

work materials so they are easily located. Lack of self-discipline and inability to say


Recognize that time management is a goal that will take effort and a change of habits. Say “no” firmly, but without offending.

Leaving tasks unfinished: Set priorities, avoid interruptions. Give yourself deadlines and a reward for completion of a task.


A B C Priority System

This offers an effective way to prioritize the tasks of your “to do” list. A typical day in the life of a student has a list of unrelated tasks: reading, class, job, club meetings, finishing a paper, aerobics, and visiting friends.

If you begin to use an ABC type system, you will find that you can be more successful in completing the most important things first.

A.—These are the most important items on your list. They are assignments that are due or need to be completed immediately. “A” priorities are activities that lead directly to your long or short term goals.

B.—These items are important, but due to time constraints or deadlines, they are not as important as “A” list tasks. The “B’s” may become “A’s” at some point, but are not as urgent. These can be postponed if necessary.

C. —These do not require immediate attention. They include such tasks as alphabetizing your CD collection (instead of studying for a final exam) or planning a party that is still 5 weeks away instead of going to the library to finish research on a paper that is due in 3 more days.

“C” Fever is a common student ailment. Whose apartment doesn’t suddenly look messy when it isfinally time to settle in with a boring text? It is important to keep coming back to the “A” list tocomplete these times first, and recognize that the apartment will still need cleaning when finals are over!

ABC Priority List Example Date: Tuesday, October 29

5 Write history paper (due November 9) 3 Make Halloween costume

4 Get hair cut

1 Math homework (due October 30) 6 Recopy English notes

2 Go meet with English professor to discuss last paper 7 Call best friend in Michigan



If you were given $1,440 every day, with the provision that you would have to spend the money before midnight, what would you do? Would you plan your day carefully so that you made the best use of your money? Or would you spend money carelessly hoping that you got the most from each dollar?

Time is like this example. You have 1,440 minutes in each day. It can be spent wisely and you can be productive, organized and successful with what time you have, or it can be spent carelessly with a feeling of pressure and anxiety from missed deadlines. For college students especially, wise time management can spell the difference between being on the dean’s list and being on probation.

Just as we have developed a social personality (how we relate to people) we have a time consciousness or time personality (how we relate to time). Do you know your own Time Personality? Do you know what you would like your time personality to be after working on through the above 6 steps for time management?

Impulsive Susie. Susie is a fun-loving, bubbly little freshman who plays the college game without a schedule. She has no organization to her activities. She lets college life bounce her around at will. Oh, sure, she attends classes and sometimes hits the books, but only when the mood strikes her. She figures that time is on her side and students who prepare and follow time schedules are real drags.

Low-Gear Paul. Paul is the original tomorrow kid. He suffers from an acute case of procrastination paralysis. He talks a good race, does a lot of preparation, worries a lot, and means well, but he never seems to get around to shifting into a higher gear. Paul somehow feels that he will be able to pick up enough speed during the last lap to win the race.

Nocturnal Nora. Nora is one of the “night people.” She attends all her classes during the day but waits until late at night to study. She fools away all of her free daytime hours. Campus life is meeting boys, having cokes, getting into conversations, and having fun. “Spend daylight hours in the library? Come off it! I’ll do homework while others are in the sack.”

Weekend Louie. Louie figures that going to college is a weekday proposition only. Weekends are for living! He figures he can wrap up his college work by Friday noon and forget it until Monday. No sweat.

Over Involved Oscar. Oscar tries to do too much. He is juggling a full academic load, a job, two or three leadership positions on campus, and one or two love affairs on the side. Oscar does not respect time. He stretches himself too thin. His enthusiasm and energy cause him to over commit himself, and something has to give—whether it is his grades, his job performance, his love life, or his health.

What is your time personality? Create your own name and write a short description of your own time management problem.


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